You must "know your grammar" to make effective word and stylistic choices when you speak and write. At the same time, breaking grammar "rules" or conventions can be appropriate when rhetorical considerations of audience and purpose call for it. For example, you don't use the same "grammar" to write an Instant Message as you do to you write an English paper. Of course, you can't break the rules until you know them. To that end, we will undertake an extensive grammar, punctuation and mechanics review of Standard American (Edited) English through online exercises that accompany your handbook, Lunsford's Easy Writer.
It is also important to understand that for certain audiences and purposes, it may be most appropriate to write in non-standard forms--yes, even Ebonics! Linguistically speaking, all dialects are equal. There are no "bad" or "incorrect" dialects, just as French is no "better" than English or British English is no better than American English. Unfortunately, however, some dialects are victims of "linguistic prejudice," the product of ignorance and faulty thinking. A Jewish linguist, Max Weinreich, captured the connections between language and power very well when he wrote that "A language is a dialect with an army and a navy." In other words, a language or dialect is assumed to be more prestigious if it is associated with a powerful group of people.
While Standard English has become the expected means of communicating in most professional spheres, both nationally and internationally, the person who can "code switch" between different dialects or, better still, different languages, will be the more successful communicator in global and local communities.
Instructions for completing the exercises:
1. Read the appropriate sections in Lunsford before doing the exercises. If you neglect this step, you won't make a good score on the exercises, and you must score 90% or redo them. Your scores are reported automatically to your instructor. Note that a few of the exercises are non-scoring because there is more than one possible answer. You won't need to score 90% on these; just do the exercises, and they will be recorded as completed on the online record I receive.
Here are the sections in Lunsford you will need to read. You are usually required to do two exercises for each grammar point. Numbers in parenthesis (in the chart below) indicate how many exercises to do for that particular grammar/punctuation issue.
|Punctuation--||Total of 8 Exercises|
||Do Exercises 390, 433|
||Do Exercises 397 and 438|
|Word Choice-- Total of 6 Exercises||Wordy sentences (2); Active vs. Passive verbs; Active vs. be verbs; Sexist Language; Cliches and misused metaphors|
|Sentence Style--Total of 13 Exercises||Parallelism (2), Misplaced Modifiers (2), Dangling Modifiers (2), shifts: person and number (1), Shifts: tense (1), Shifts (1), Mixed Constructions (2), Choppy Sentences (2)|
|Grammatical Sentences--Total of 8 Exercises||Pronoun reference (2), Pronoun case (2), Sentence fragments (2), Run-on sentences (2)|
|Mechanics--Total of 1 Exercise||Italics (or in pre-computer days, underlining)|
|Total Number of Exercises=36||But don't worry. They are quick!|
Of course, the goal is not only to master the exercises, but to use the grammar conventions correctly in your own writing. Please make a special effort to avoid these errors. There will be a grammar and punctuation component on your mid-term and final exam.
2. Go to Easy Writer Web Site
3. Click on Grammar Exercises> Sentence Style (or whatever unit you are working on) then the specific exercise you want to do.
4. Enter your name : first name then last name. Do this the same way each time
5. Enter my email address (twice): email@example.com
6. Do the exercises. Click on "Next" to advance to the following question.
7. Click on "Score" when you have finished the exercises in a unit. If your score is not 90% or above, you must redo the exercises.
8. Don't print out your score or the exercises. I will receive an automatic, online report.
9. NOTE: Avoid the "Edit and Compare" exercises when possible. However, these cannot be avoided in certain cases (misplaced modifiers, dangling modifiers, mixed constructions, choppy sentences and others). You will not get a score for this type of exercise, but an online report of the answers that you type in is sent to your professor.